As Donald Trump's presidency comes to a close, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is likely to see significant diplomatic change with the incoming administration. 

President-elect Joe Biden has signaled he will implement a more formal and strict relationship with North Korea. Prior to the Trump administration, the U.S. has mostly kept North Korea at a distance with no formal meetings between heads of state.

A return to relations from the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations appears inevitable since Biden and Kim have already clashed on multiple occasions. The former vice president has called the North Korean leader a "murderous dictator" and a “thug.” North Korea was quick to retaliate and said that Biden was a "rabid dog" who "must be beaten to death with a stick."

There has been no recent tension between the two sides and Kim told officials that he wants them to refrain from provoking the U.S. as the new administration comes into power, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The North is showing both hope and nervousness,” Kim Byung-kee, the ranking liberal lawmaker on South Korea's legislature’s intelligence committee, said in a statement

While some experts have lauded Biden’s strict relationship with North Korea, some sense that his approach will too closely mirror the Obama administration.  

"For all the faults with the Trump administration's very unconventional way of approaching North Korea, my main concern is that Biden's approach will look very similar to Obama's," Cristina Varriale, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said in a statement.

"That didn't really work. By the time Trump took office ... North Korea had got to a point where they were quite advanced in terms of where they were with their nuclear program."

Kim, meanwhile, may have interests in striking a new deal with the Biden administration. North Korea has been hammered with international sanctions, flooding and COVID-19. Biden is expected to pursue a deal with North Korea that would pause or even halt the country's nuclear program.  

The move would be a strong departure from the Trump administration's policies.

The Washington Post noted in late September that U.S. officials say North Korea "is better armed, with a growing nuclear arsenal scattered across a network of bunkers newly hardened against a potential U.S. airstrike," after two years of Trump's efforts for more amicable ties.                 

Trump and Kim met twice after their landmark summit in Singapore in 2018 Trump and Kim met twice after their landmark summit in Singapore in 2018 Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB